I kind of seem to jump around from deep and dazzling color to subtle and serene don't I? To tell you the truth, I get bored doing too much of the same thing so it's fun to shake things up with subject matter and color. AND locations I might add. When you can't get your tushie to France or Greece, what's wrong with Colusa or Yuba City pray tell??!! This humble little lane can be found someplace out near Sutter and is surrounded by reflective rice fields, poplar and eucalyptus trees and the smallest mountain range in the world, the Sutter Buttes. I gave you a peek of those the other day along the river and you just might see them pop up again soon. Hope you feel like taking a little stroll on a lazy summer evening down this road to no place in particular, just for the fun of it.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
It is just so much fun to wander around Mendocino on foot because discoveries like this actual scene take place. These are flowers behind the Sandpiper Jewelry Store and don't they create the perfect foil for that distant pale green house? I did omit the snippets of buildings to the right because they just cluttered things up. I wanted you to be able to breathe all of that salt air while gazing at the ribbons of blue water and sky. We all need times of refreshing and I hope that my paintings can add such an element from time to time.
Monday, May 20, 2013
I can't think of a better way to usher in the summer season than to have enjoyed the Sacramento River under shady trees with a nice bunch of painters. Colusa is one of California's best kept secrets with its lush riverbanks, quaint cottages and farms and ranches galore. I thoroughly enjoyed every hour with my friends and students and truly look forward to going back again one day. We waved to boaters and floaters and though I didn't include them in my painting, just imagine yourself in this idyllic spot sipping some lemonade and feeling like you're transported to a calmer and quieter time.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Those poppies got the best of me as I couldn't stop painting them! Each angle a little different and this one includes the dazzling wild iris. Iris was my grandmother's name, so this flower is even more special for that reason and this color in particular. Hope you're not sick of this theme but love it as much as I do.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Mother's Day just got better when I shifted my gaze from north to east and tried my hand at a simple version of Main Street behind the flowering fields. This street is so unique because in the late 50's all the buildings on the south side of the street burned down in a fire. If you watch the 1955 film 'East of Eden' you will see how the town used to look. It's certainly to the advantage of all the businesses, residences and visitors to have a wide open view toward the beautiful bay. We relish it on a daily basis and happily share it with all who are blessed to tromp the paths and treat themselves indoors.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Before I knew that I would be seeing one of my boys for Mother's Day, I was able to do my next favorite thing and spend a few sublime hours on the Mendocino headlands. My best buddy and her exchange student were with me happily painting as the fog was coming and going, but we loved every warm and cold moment. I happen to live on this very street, just behind the bushes on the left and a bit farther north than the houses featured. I am blessed immeasurably to step out my front door and be to this spot in a minute, and believe me I don't take it for granted. Not one iota.
Friday, May 10, 2013
On our way back from Tucson we stopped in at our friends' place in Fairfield and boy do they enjoy a visual feast right outside their windows. Rolling hills, oak trees, fields, flowers AND horses. We took about a thousand photos from their property and also within a few miles as they drove us to special vantage points. You just might see a lot of this theme emerging over the coming months, and as much of it as I can muster will have this yummy glowing light. This is what slays me.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The mornings here in Mendocino are often quite delightful. Cool and crisp with almost a halo of light casting an other-worldly glow over everything. Great conditions for someone like me to run out and try my hand at apprehending that feeling with my art supplies. You got it, another hard day at the office but somebody has to do it.
Monday, May 6, 2013
As promised, here is another impression of my glorious day up north. I often include the 'whole nine yards' in my paintings, so in this one I went for the essence which was the carpet of poppies against the aquamarine sea. Simple shapes and simple brushstrokes can make for more impact which is something I am always striving for in my work. I will forever relish the memory of the warm sun, the amazing array of color and the perfect ocean breeze that honestly felt like God patting my cheek!
Saturday, May 4, 2013
I had the supreme fortune to spend two glorious painting sessions at Pacific Star Winery this week. The weather was sublime and the poppies icing on the cake, making for a most delectable painting experience. I stuck around for hours and hours, so stay tuned for more on this theme. I was pinching myself to make sure it wasn't a dream, but here is the hard cold evidence that was for real. Wowzers people, the only thing missing was your company!
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Went for something 'simple' for today's post, though creating high contrast and natural drama isn't all that easy. The only thing that made this somewhat simple was that I skipped the drawing phase and just went into the dark clouds with my paintbrush. Just think how happy God must feel each day when he paints the sky with the swipe of his brush???? We reap the benefits and get to exclaim ooh and aah at the end of our day. So grateful.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Finally back in the saddle as the saying goes, even though I'm pretty much afraid of horses. Now my 11 year old niece has just ridden her first horse and bareback to boot, so maybe I need a dose of her bravado. Anyhow, our trip to Tucson was splendid and I hope to try my hand at more desert scenes soon. In the meantime, I'm taking you back to the ocean along a sunlit path between the coastal pines at that time of day where colors give way to sepia and blinding light. Hope you find yourself daydreaming about new adventures or quiet getaways and thanks for taking the time to spend snippets with me.
Friday, April 26, 2013
We're at the tail end of our Arizona adventure and really enjoyed our time in the desert. It zipped by way too fast but we're hoping that we can return on some kind of regular basis. I had decided ahead of time to leave my oil paints at home due to the heat, but had a bit of fun with my watercolors. However, this subject matter kind of threw me for a loop due to the subtle values, but I am looking forward to playing with these colors on larger paintings and hope to share the results with you soon. Sorry I missed connecting with you all for so many days in a row!
Monday, April 15, 2013
Ok, so a million bucks wouldn't be enough to buy this Italian villa, but does Ten Million Dollar View really sound right?? We're living in a time of great inflation, but are still stuck with old catch phrases that can't be easily fixed. Anyhow, welcome back to Lake Como everyone. Sit down, relax, take in the view and have a Bellini or some limoncello. Revel in the jaw dropping majesty and grandeur, even if only from your armchair.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
This a scene from the Alexander Valley north of Healdsburg and my inspiration came from a drive by shooting one glorious August evening. In my photo the foreground vineyards were all a blur, but I know how to fix that stuff and let you in on the essence of what caught my eye. I'm crazy about those long shadows that lay across the golden hills, the layers of mountains and the symmetry of the rows of summer grapes. Time to mosey on home, put your feet up and soak up the last glimmers of light with your favorite drink and finger food. Ahhhhh..................
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Every now and then I do a classic seascape without any structures and this is yet another one of our fabulous views. This spot is in between Albion and Elk and is one of those 'Aha pull over NOW' spots. Sometimes those views come without even a square inch in which to park the car and must be shot while in motion but thankfully this one had a pullout. It's pure delight to wander aimlessly along this coastline for no other reason than to absorb the grandeur and I wish I'd mark my calendar to do it more often. Maybe if you come to town for a visit, we'll have an excuse!
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Westport manages to retain its funky quality against a backdrop of mountains, meadows and marine majesty. It's small and quaint because there are so many hair raising switchbacks and crazy cliffs in between here and there or it would be much more populated and refined. In my opinion it's just right and I brave the roads as often as I can squeeze it into my 'life in the country fast lane'.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Still on the theme of Mendocino's rooftops and if you're sleuthy, you can see some similarities between this one and the last one, even if you don't know the spot where I was standing. It's just so perfect how the steeple provides the ideal vertical in exactly the right spot, kind of like a set designer had been involved in mapping out the town just right. Ok, so I suppose I'm a bit of a set designer myself and can scoot a little to the left or right to see a composition that pulls my trigger. Just love the gleaming whites when the morning sun crests the eastern hill and lights up the town like this!
Thursday, April 4, 2013
There are some nooks and crannies here in Mendocino that reveal scenes that are rarely viewed. This is one such place and you get a personal note from me if you can tell me just where I was standing to take the photo for this painting! I tromp around and around this teeny tiny town and still manage to find things that I had missed, or see things in a different light depending on the weather or time of day. Even though it is miniscule, it never gets boring and still manages to make my heart go pitter patter.
...................I left my heart in Mendocino, high on a bluff, it calls to me.
Monday, April 1, 2013
One of the landmarks we're proud of around these parts is the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. The half mile hike from the old highway down to the station is a delight with vantage points galore, though this particular view is from another bluff just to the south. From the house we just moved into which is next door to the one we've been living in, we can look out the windows and see the rhythmic light flashing around the clock. On a really clear evening, we can look to the south and also see a flash from the Point Arena lighthouse. So glad these beacons are well tended in order to guide our seafaring friends safely home.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Even though I was initially enamored with the purple-gray background I painted behind this sunflower a while back, my husband told me to change it to blue. I have no idea if he even read my blog post that day, but he's typically got great advice even though he's not a painter himself. I must say that it resonates much better now and I'm happy to take it home and hang it in my 'French' room if no one snags it!
On a side note, I resisted my husband's advice for many years. So much pride involved. I just wanted to have this one little area of my life where he couldn't barge in and say anything. I was dumb. I am now more open to his suggestions because his track record for good advice has pretty much topped the charts. Team playing is a good way to live.
Monday, March 25, 2013
This is a scene I marvel at as I come and go each day and I know, poor me. One day I'll break down and tell you some stories about the challenges of living here, but you'd much rather hear the glowing reports right? And frankly, it's the visual feast that makes it all worthwhile as it serves to replenish my weary heart and soul on a regular basis.
Friday, March 22, 2013
There is a roadway that winds along the north western edge of Mendocino and by car it is beautiful, but on foot it is out of this world. As you peer over the edges of the cliffs there, the rock formations are spectacular in any weather and at any time of day. However, sunset is probably my all time favorite. It's all those yummy, warm colors and that fiery orb as it slips away signaling the end of another glorious day in paradise. Ok, so the water gives you hypothermia unlike the waters of Hawaii, but it's still downright fabulous.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Just had an idyllic time with my buddy Jennifer over in the Ukiah Valley before the new rains set in, painting the billowing yellow mustard blossoms. The carpeted vineyards seem to shout far and wide that Spring is upon us and boast the craziest, loudest color in my paint box, Y.E.L.L.O.W. , glorious yellow. It was actually hot enough to bare my arms and it felt great to be in the elements after a long winter. The bees were buzzing and it made me feel like VanGogh all over again. Boy am I blessed to have this job or what?
Sunday, March 17, 2013
This spot on God's green earth has to be one of the most photographed and gasped over views ever. It just happens to be in my neck of the woods and gives me goosebumps each time I'm blessed to see it up close and personal. I've taken my own quote of photos and can find one in just about every one of my albums, boxes or digital files, so it's always at my disposal when I have the hankering to paint it. The scrufty fences that grace our coastline only add to the drama and delight of the haystack rocks and receding bluffs. We love the silver grays of these weathered beauties and feel sad whenever we see them falling down or giving way to rebar and wire. All in all, I live a life of visual ecstasy over here on the western edge.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Several years ago I had the supreme privilege of painting in this sunflower field in the south of France. Bees were buzzing and the sun was beating down as I crouched down amongst the faces of these magnificent blooms. I so admire Van Gogh's work and felt close to him at that moment since I was struggling against the elements, fumbling with my equipment whilst being captivated by my surroundings. I wasn't so frustrated that I wanted to cut my ear off, only supremely blessed to be there.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
The sleepy burg of Westport has to be one of my favorite galivants along this stretch of the coast. This particular ribbon of highway and its views are akin to the west coast of Ireland and take my breath away each and every time. Thankfully, Lee and Doreen have revitalized the old hotel and have made it a very special place to land once you've endured all those curves and scary cliff edges. Dinners Thursday-Saturday nights, high tea on Saturday afternoon and brunch on Sunday make Westport and honest-to-goodness destination nowadays.
The reason I've been rather sporadic lately is that my cold has been hanging on AND we moved into the house next door. Never a dull nano-second around here, so I also get to escape when I paint these visual vacations.........
Monday, March 11, 2013
Rifling through my vast stash of inspirational photos, I came across one of a single sunflower and it pulled my trigger. In the photo though, the background was of a blue house in shadow. Typically blue and yellow are a hit, but my panel today was the color of a brown paper bag and it spoke to me. I mixed up a purple version of that same value and it causes the yellows and greens to speak for themselves, rather than compete with a bunch of blue. The result is more subtle with less contrast and something I might say is quiet and calm. I can use those qualities right about now since my computer is giving me fits................
Friday, March 8, 2013
While the last chicken was bound and determined, this one seems to just enjoy the sunlit green grass and his trip across the yard. I've learned in the last week that chickens are smarter than I thought, or at least that is what one chicken owner told me so I must now give her the benefit of the doubt. Either way they are rather delightful creatures, just looking farmish, colorful and carefree whilst they are laying eggs that we relish at our breakfast table. Simple pleasures in the seeing and the sustenance.
Friday, March 1, 2013
Similar to the chicken, this is another painting with a big, bold shape. I was working on a large commission today and using my palette knife, so decided to try it on a small piece too. This is our local lighthouse just as the sun is setting and the glass is gleaming with the last rays of sunlight. It's pretty much a silhouette save that dash of shiny glass and the red highlights on the roof and grasses, so it is simple indeed. Crazy yummy sky color too, kind of like split pea soup dontcha think?